Wrapping Up the Week

Another Friday brings another close to another eventful week in the world of tech and gadgets. This week certainly has been an interesting week for those who are following tech security and privacy news. Russian censorship made headlines early on with a reminder that certain memes are illegal — leading to a backlash of epic proportions. Rightscorp has been back in the news recently getting smacked down by the bench for some of their shady dealings and the US government continues to struggle with handling matters of security, law, and privacy regarding criminals and citizens. However, not all the news is doom and gloom — medical researchers have made some hopeful strides in treating Parkinson’s and advances in robotics and AI indicate that a partnership between humans and our intelligent and rolling robot overlords may be possible in the days to come.

All of these stories and more were featured on our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter, we’ll recap the highlights for you below!

That’s all for this week, everyone! Have a great weekend and we’ll see you again next week.

Throwback Thursday: VCRs and Other Recording Tech

Throwback Thursday: VCRs and Other Recording Tech

This Sunday HBO’s Game of Thrones latest season kicked off just a few weeks after AMC’s The Walking Dead wrapped its most recent season. Other big shows and spin offs have been getting launched left and right recently with Better Call Saul, Don’t Fear The Walking Dead, and Mad Men ending. Other staple shows like The Big Bang Theory are still running strong. These days, recording your favorite show is easy. You can purchase them and download the episodes on iTunes, Amazon, or any number of online video shops or stream them through sites like Hulu or Netflix. DVRs make it trivial to record them live and to skip the ads these days (some can even be programmed to skip the ads automatically). However, it wasn’t always this simple and, this Throwback Thursday, we’d like to take a look back at some of the more stone-knives-and-bearskin methods that were used to capture television shows in the pre-digital era.

1) VCR/Betamax — Yes, these are two different formats/storage mediums but the concept was, by and large, the same. The analog signal was recorded to the tape and stored. Early generations of these recording devices could only capture the channel that was being broadcast through them at the time — some later, higher-end versions could be programmed to capture a specific channel at a specific time even if it was displaying a different channel to the screen at that time.

2) Camcorders — For those times you couldn’t hook up a VCR (some older model televisions wouldn’t work with one absent some serious tinkering), some die-hards would finagle a camcorder to either function like a VCR unit or to just record the screen (though the audio channel would suffer from serious drift issues). It wasn’t pretty and it had many issues of its own but, much like Ogg the Caveman, when all you have is flint and pyrite, you can’t really complain about not being able to use a Zippo to get the fire started.

3) Film copiers — Only those of us privileged enough to live in the 21st century would consider this “primitive.” Back in the day, having a machine that could take video film and copy it to another roll of film was ridiculously high-tech. Okay, maybe it wasn’t so high-tech but it was pretty awesome.

These days, recording or copying shows or films is a simple matter of Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V. However, a mere 30 years ago, the story was much different. So, this Throwback Thursday, take a moment to reflect on just how far we’ve come in the realm of recording and playback devices when you sit down tonight to watch your favorite television shows!

Game of Thrones Season Five Premiere

Game of Thrones Season Five Premiere

So, how many of you caught last night’s premiere of the fifth season of Game of Thrones? Exciting, wasn’t it? I was wondering how they were going to handle the storyline of Tyrion going overseas and if they were going to make it explicit early on that he was on a path to wind up working with Daenerys or if they were going to leave him floundering in misery for a season the way he was lost through most of A Feast For Crows and about half of A Dance with Dragons. I was also glad to see Varys come straight out for once.

The players at Castle Black positioning themselves for the role of Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch is going to be fun to see over the season though Mance’s death was sad (I kept hoping for some kind of last minute reprieve for him). Dark Sansa is shaping up to be a lot more interesting (and a lot less annoying) than Sansa from the books. I’m also wondering how big a player Arya is going to be this season and if we’re going to see more from Balon and Yara Greyjoy.

At the end of the last season, the dragon Drogon had killed a little boy and that caused Daenerys to lock the other two away. Drogon is still at large but now the other two dragons are a bit upset and unruly and their “Mother” can’t keep them under control. I’m wondering how that’s going to impact her ability to use them both as a martial tool and an inspirational tool in the wars to come as she moves to take control of Westeros (if she ever moves to take control of Westeros).

Cersei is still the Queen Bee of King’s Landing and is proving herself to be an unfit ruler and an unfit mother (as well as the kind of woman you really shouldn’t marry). Is this the season when she finally gets what’s coming to her? Are the rest of you looking forward to that as much as I am?

Throwback Thursday: Grilling For the Ages

Throwback Thursday: Grilling For the Ages

This week has been all about grilling here at BuyDig and, for Throwback Thursday, we’re going to continue that theme. Using fire to cook meat, vegetables, and even grains has been a practice of humanity since we lived in caves. Roasting, rotisserie, searing… these are all methods that people have favored since those long-forgotten days. And, over those years, we have constructed various types of grills and cooking areas for the purpose of using open flames to cook food. Today, we’re going to look over some of those devices.

1) Open firepit — This is the oldest method we’ve used and it’s still largely in use today. Roasting hotdogs over a campfire, using a simple grill or metal plate to sear or spread heat over the bottom of steaks — these are things we all do to this day. Charcoal and wood-burning grills make use of this design and plan.

2) Enclosed heat — All grills and stoves make use of this though stoves are engineered to be much better and more precise at convection cooking than a grill with a top over it to trap in the heat. Open flames are not normally recommended when using this method. Instead, the cook lets the fuel source burn down to coals and then traps the heat and uses the hot air to cook the food. The food can also be placed in a tin-foil package, wrapped in wax paper, or otherwise covered and enclosed which is then placed in the coals.

3) A turning spit — The spit — a long type of skewer is either used to pierce the meat or the meat is tied to it and the spit is turned over either an open flame or in the heated air — is favored for rotisserie cooks and used for cooking whole chickens or pigs (at luaus) most frequently.

These are three of the most general methods that grills and grillers can use to cook food without relying on high-tech methods such as stoves, ovens, and accessories like pots, pans, and skillets. What methods do you tend to favor? Let us know in the comments below!

Getting Ready For Grilling

Getting Ready For Grilling

Now that the weather has warmed up in most places and the skies are starting to clear up, it’s time to get ready to break out the grill and check over things to make certain that all is in place for the spring and summer outdoor cooking seasons. You’ll want to check your grill each year before you use it — especially if you are using a gas grill — in order to avoid potential problems that can ruin your grill or worse.

1) Clean your grill — Before you fire it up the first time, break your grill down and clean it thoroughly. If you’ve had it stored away during the winter, you’ll want to make certain that it’s good and clean with none of the vents blocked by dust or build-up in order to ensure that the grill maintains a good, even temperature.

2) Check your lines — If you’re using a gas grill, make certain that you check all of the lines and valves before turning it on the first time. You’ll also want to make certain that your gas tank is not corroded or empty.

3) Do a test run — Before you send out invitations for your first BBQ of the year, do a small test run to make certain that there are no unpredictable hotspots or draft issues with the grill.

Part of owning a grill is doing routine maintenance on it and making certain it’s ready for the warmer (and grilling-friendlier) months and heavier use. Taking a few hours to check it over can save you a lot of time, trouble, and money further down the road.